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Updated: 10/21/2017 05:49:08PM

Southwest Florida’s earliest inhabitants — the Calusa

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Richard Ramos

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In 1513, the Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de León sailed north from Puerto Rico searching for the fabled Fountain of Youth. Instead of finding magical waters, de León’s expedition became the first Europeans to land in Florida, near present-day St. Augustine.

Continuing his explorations, de León reached Florida’s southwest coast near present-day Charlotte Harbor. While exploring the region, de León encountered a Native American nation, the Calusa, near their Mound Key village in present-day Lee County.

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